In the meeting with my mentor, Mike, I went through my learning objectives one by one and discussed the progress and challenges with him. This meeting helped me reflect on my internship experience and I got some valuable feedback from him.
At the beginning of the meeting, I told Mike that I love working with team Sisasa. The team has a good balance in members’ responsibilities and background. Regrading responsibilities, Sisasa has 3 management people, 2 programmers, and 2 UIX designers. In terms of members’ background, Sisasa has 4 cofounders, 2 Gigtank specialists and 1 outside consultant, and we are from the States, China, and England. Sisasa is an energetic and happy team, we work hard, and play hard. We are good co-workers and friends at the same time. Mike is happy that I am dedicating to the team during the summer.
My first learning objective is to improve my skills of graphic design and branding, working with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to create brand logos, infographics, promotional illustrations and so on for the startup. I think I made a lot of progress on this goal. During the summer, my main responsibility in Sisasa is to do all kinds of design work: Interface, wireframes, icons, badges, logo, business cards, one pager, slides and video. I have tried my best to create a whole branding set for Sisasa before the Demo Day.
My second learning objective is to develop my skills with Adobe AfterEffect to create promotional and explanatory videos for the start-up. I have achieved this objective, too, as I have finished our app demo video. I told Mike that although the video was well done, we would not play it at the demo pitch since it could not fit in the flow very well, but we still could put it on the website. Mike was glad that I have completed this learning goal, and he thought creating a video and thinking about the promotional phrases could help the team know what we want to say to our investors and customers, as well as to clarify the company’s statement of position. In fact our branding mentor, Andrew, has suggested us to figure out the benefits Sisasa could bring to our customers and represent them in all the branding materials. This process has indeed helped us to keep on the right track.
My third learning objective is to improve my web design skills through creating website mockups for startup, using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I think I’ve changed the direction of this to android app design instead of the web design. During this summer, I learned about the android interactive design guidelines, design patterns and principles, and I have applied these knowledge into practice and improve my skills in iterations. I worked with another SI student, Jesyka, to discuss how users should navigate in the app, what design patterns we should use to fulfill users’ need, and how we could cooperate with programmers. We discussed whether we should use tabs or spinners in the article reading page, how users could redeem or share a reward, how users could rate or comment on articles, and so on and so forth. I learned a lot during the process, and I believe this experience will help me a lot in the future.
My fifth learning objective is to network and establish 5 connections with graphic designers or UI/UX designers, 5 connections with mobile app or web developers, by attending networking events, mentor meetings and other social events. I think I’ve mostly achieved this goal. I had relatively close connections with 4 graphic designers and 4 programmers inside and outside GIGTANK programs. I’ve learned a lot from them.
My sixth learning objective is to to develop better people skills and communication skills by attending or organizing client meetings or user meetings. After I joined the GIGTANK program, I realized I’m weak at communicating with strangers. Sometimes I still have problems understanding and join the conversations. One of the Gigtankers said his first impression on me was “quiet”. During the summer, I tried to create conversations with strangers on networking events, and I did my best developing friendship with other members of Sisasa through participating many social and recreational activities. But there are still a lot of things about communication I need to learn. Mike gave me a useful tip: Instead of always burring my head into my work, I should look up more so people would love to stop by and say hello. It was subtle behaviors that could help me better connect with other people.
Besides I failed to achieve the fifth objective, for the same reasons, I didn’t achieve my last learning objective either – to know more about backend mobile app development through learning Titanium. Mike said it was fine, because the fifth and last learning objectives are more about developing instead of designing. He said since I was fully committed to my duty and responsibility as a graphic designer, it is not appropriate for me to stretch out too much and do development instead of designing. I agree with him but I think learning more about development could help me a lot in the future designing process. This learning objective should be kept for the rest of the summer after the GIGTANK program as well as for this coming school year.
At the end of the meeting, Mike gave me another suggestion: to quickly finish changes and get the productions done. Although there are a lot of iterations going on in the design process, we need to finalize things when we need to. Perfect is the enemy of good. If I pursue perfect all the time, I cannot even reach good. As the Demo Day is approaching, I must finalize our branding designs and keep them unified, and let the team move forward as soon as possible. I will keep this in mind and I believe we can get where we want at last.